Day 357

A collaboration brew happens when two (or more) brewmasters from different breweries get together and brew up a beer. It happens more often than you would think, especially here in southern Ontario. There’s even a shorthand blackboard code used by bars to indicate a collaboration beer: Toronto Brewing X Guelph Brewing Wheat Beer indicates a collaboration wheat beer made by (the fictional) Toronto and Guelph breweries.

Today I visited House Ales in Toronto to help brew up a collaboration beer. The day began with recipe ideas being bandied back and forth. I had suggested a wheat beer using malted wheat, pilsner malt, and enough Vienna malt to give it some colour, but that was only the starting point for some real haggling: how much grain, and in what proportions? The mash regime was another point of discussion. Would we hold the mash at a single temperature, say 65°C, or would we start low and raise the mash temperature to a series of intermediate steps?

All those points being settled, we mashed in. And this is when I discovered a great truth: When you visit another brewery, it’s like being a dinner guest–sure, you can help cut up carrot sticks before dinner and wash dishes afterwards, but basically you’re not expected to do any work not related to the dinner. Your dinner host wouldn’t ask you to do a load of laundry, for instance. Likewise, the host brewer didn’t have anything for me to do that was not directly related to our brew. No sweeping, no cleaning, no sanitizing. Nothing to do except to think up a name for our beer. (Because we were using Nelson Sauvin hops from New Zealand, I suggested Antipodean Wheat, which stuck. Ask for it by name.)

I wonder if there is a position somewhere called “Permanent Guest Brewer”.

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6 Comments on “Day 357”


  1. Well, the wine industry has “flying winemakers” – winemakers who literally fly in to fix or make wines for different wineries. Maybe you can start something like that up for the beer industry!

    • Alan Brown Says:

      “Flying brewmaster”. I like it. It’s a concept whose time has come…

      • Matthew Says:

        I think that’s largely what the guy from Mikkeller does, hence why most of his beers are “collaborations”.

      • Alan Brown Says:

        I was actually thinking of Mikkel Borg Bjergsø when I wrote about the “flying brewmaster”. For those of you who have not heard about Mikkel or his beer, he is a Danish brewer who travels around to different breweries in Europe and borrows their equipment to make fantastic beers (sold under the brand name “Mikeller”).

        So there is a precedent there!

  2. Matthew Says:

    As a New Zealand beer lover, I love the name of the brew. Now if only it could somehow get out here to BC!

    • Alan Brown Says:

      Unfortunately, Antipodean Wheat is an 80-litre “one off” batch that will be served at Bar Volo in Toronto on Tuesday, September 18 and then relegated to the empties carton of history.


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